Modelry - A Random Walk through Internet Real Estate: How to Sell Like a Six Year Old & Exceed Your Goals

How to Sell Like a Six Year Old & Exceed Your Goals

Thin Mints SignYes, it's that time of year.  Young girls across the country are descending on doorsteps to sell Samoa's, Thin Mints, and Do-Si-Do's.  That's right.  It's GIRL SCOUT COOKIE season.

My daughter just turned six and is a Daisy (Girl Scout in training).  This is her first year as a Daisy.  She was really excited and very motivated to sell cookies.   I am not sure if it was a curse or a boon to be the daughter of the CEO of an Internet sales & marketing company.   I know some of you are rolling your eyes at this, but I truly believe that "selling" is one of the great skills that EVERYONE should know, understand and embrace.  (I believe in life and this economy, you are either creating value by making things like engineers or you know how to sell - products, services, yourself, your company to customers and investors).   We spent the last two weeks learning about creating lists, cold calling (relatives & friends), leaving compelling messages to get call backs, and going door to door (to neighbors accompanied by parents).   She hit her goal.  i am very proud.

Thin MintsThese are the key sales lessons I learned from my six year daughter:

1) Have a Very Clear Goal:  She wanted the stuffed animal giraffe at the 155 cookie box level.  She saw that giraffe in the Girl Scout brochure, she didn't really understand what she needed to do to get it, but she knew she wanted it.

2) Be Tenacious & Make Sacrifices: Once she decided she wanted the stuffed giraffe and knew it took selling 155 boxes, she decided she she would do what it took to get it even if it meant sacrificing play time, skiing, and TV time.  Every free moment for the past several weeks was spent selling cookies.

3) Make a Targeted List:  Before she started, she created a list of "targets" of relatives, friends and neighbors.  We started with an initial list of obvious friends and relatives.  We then used online services like FaceBook, LinkedIn and Evite to brainstorm other "friendly" faces and warm, receptive contacts she could contact.

4) Create a Script & Practice:  She developed a really simple call script and practiced with me and my wife.  She then started calling relatives.  She then moved to family friends and neighbors and kept working on her presentation. (She had a 100% close rate if she could get someone on the phone.  People were surprised to get a call from a six year old.)

5) Optimize Your Voice Mail: She tested one or two voicemail scripts and got some reasonable call backs (who wouldn't return a call from that voice).

6) Be Fearless:  This is a funny one.  I think we learn fear and embarrassment as we get older.  She may not know better, but she was fearless in making calls and selling door to door to neighbors.  In fact, she was SO EXCITED by the giraffe that she was dragging my wife or me out to go door to door everyday that the sun was shining.  Weird to be that motivated, but six year olds have energy and are motivated by stuffed animals.

Giraffe7) Get Referrals from Friends, Family, and Customers:  Sarena hit a roadblock at about 100 boxes.  We didn't think she would get to her goal of 155 boxes.  She ended up getting some really good referrals from family friends who helped put her over the top.  Of course, she wasn't afraid to ask for a referral.  Also, some friends of friends saw her selling cookies and just walked over and purchased as well. 

8) Be Enthusiastic:  When you are excited, your prospects and customers will be excited for you.  Most of us sell the same product or service every day and can lose the nervousness or excitement of that first sale.   Generally if we are tired or bored with our products, services or jobs, it will show in our voice, posture, and presentations.  Stay fresh and excited when you pick up that phone or enter the room.  Being nervous is a good thing as it shows that you care.

Of course, it helps to be six years old and it helps to be selling Girl Scout cookies. 

But be it selling cars, real estate, securities on the stock market, or yourself in job interview, there's a lot you can learn from the fresh eyes of a six year old.     

Nikesh Parekh

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Comment balloon 50 commentsNikesh Parekh • January 24 2012 12:37AM


Hi Niki - Great post!   Clearly identifying goals is so important whether selling 155 boxes of cookies or a home a week.  It doesn't hurt to keep your eye on the goal whether it be a $$ amount or a stuffed animal. Congrats to your daughter.

Posted by Michael Jacobs, Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393 almost 9 years ago

Very true our business does compare to cookie sales quite well.

Posted by Elite Home Sales Team, A Tenacious and Skilled Real Estate Team (Elite Home Sales Team OC) almost 9 years ago

Cute little girl scouts selling great cookies... so much easier to do infront of the grocery store than me standing there.... LOL   Great post, good correlation


Posted by Susan Goulding, Northern CA - Tracy & Mountain House Real Estate (Crown Key Realty, Tracy & Mountain House Real Estate) almost 9 years ago

It's not the 6 year olds that make the Thin Mints sell...

Aside from the humor... nicely written post.

Posted by Cameron Novak, Featured Corona Real Estate Agent Team (The Homefinding Center) almost 9 years ago

Wow, what a great analogy, Nikesh.  So glad she earned her giraffe, and it sounds like a few other lessons.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) almost 9 years ago

Nikki, it is a great reminder on how to guide young or old in the way of good sales...i'm sure the giraffe will be treasured!

Posted by Ginny Gorman, Homes for Sale in Southern RI and beyond (RI Real Estate Services ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate) almost 9 years ago

Niki....what a great story.  I have some girl scouts in my house but they are older and not as motivated by the giraffe as when they were six!   And of course, it makes it easier to sell when you are selling a product like Thin Mints!

Posted by Christine Smith, Exclusive Buyer Agent & Attorney, Canton, MA (Buyers Brokers Only LLC - almost 9 years ago

Love this post. What a great reminder!

Posted by Anonymous almost 9 years ago

Love the analogy...fits for all occasions; whether it is Girl Scout cookies or selling homes. In my case waiting for the next home inspection booking call to come.


Posted by Carl Winters almost 9 years ago

Nikesh, love this post...  "Can't" doesn't seem to sway a six year old, does it?

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) almost 9 years ago

Nikesh, you can't go wrong if you follow that list.

However, if I was you I would keep a real close eye on her, she might be looking at your job the same way she looked at that giraffe :) :) :)

Posted by George Souto, Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert (George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages) almost 9 years ago

Thank your daughter for writing my business plan! :-)  

Posted by Francine Viola, REALTOR®, In Tune with your Real Estate Needs (Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty, Olympia WA) almost 9 years ago

My 6-year old granddaughter sold me cookies I didn't even want!  I was high on her targeted list and in the middle of her niche.  I definitely relate to this post.  Here's to all those fabulous 6-year salesgirls!

Posted by Norma Toering Broker for Palos Verdes and Beach Cities, Palos Verdes Luxury Homes in L.A. (Charlemagne International Properties) almost 9 years ago

Great Post - and don't fool yourself, those girlscouts are some of the best sales agents around!

Love the sign and need that for my house!  Except, it could say, unless you're a kid. We do buy from neighbor kids. I mean, who can say no to a kid??

Posted by Carla Freund, Carolina Life RealEstate & Relocation 919-602-8489 (Keller Williams Preferred Realty) almost 9 years ago

Great lessons.  Sort of along the lines of the book "Everything I need to know I learned in Kindgergarten."  Of course, with cookies as your "commodity" there is a slight advantage.

Posted by Mark Delgado, Benicia and Vallejo, Property Management, rental h (houses for rent, Solano County & Glen Cove) almost 9 years ago

This is a great post that sales teams should be using nationwide, no matter the product!

And if you have the right product, it will sell.  Just ask Billy Jays!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 9 years ago

Nikesh, your daughter surely has received much of her inspiration from her father!

Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) almost 9 years ago

There is much to be learned from the young!

Physical representations of goals are important and powerful things.  

I think I personally need to do more of that with myself and my team.  

Exceed my goals and treat myself to something cool.

Posted by Nikesh Parekh, Technology Entrepreneur, Executive, & Investor (Suplari, Inc.) almost 9 years ago

I was with my son in December selling mistletoe for the Cub Scouts. I was teaching him to smile and have a great attitude when soliciting funds. He began to enjoy the day and we received much money for a great cause. Make it happen

Posted by Harry F. D'Elia III, Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR (RentVest) almost 9 years ago

You got another sales person in the family.  Good news..

Being motivated to reach your goals is a key thing.  The drive empowers the close of a transaction.

Posted by Luis Iniguez, Search Inland Empire Homes For Sale - Short Sale Agent (Option One Real Estate) almost 9 years ago

Niki- Where was she when I was selling GS cookies so very many years ago (I think they were either 50 or 75 cents a box.  I could have used her as my mentor.  This is a great experience whether or not she goes into sales.  

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) almost 9 years ago


Well stated and quite inspirational. Meeting goals takes a lot more than luck. That being said I have already gone through 3 boxes of GS cookies and have 3 more to go!

Posted by Richard Weisser, Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional (Richard Weisser Realty) almost 9 years ago

Niki, that's awesome! How long before you put her to work on the ActiveRain phones, making more RainMakers? Part time, of course.

Posted by Eric Michael, Metro Detroit Real Estate Professional 734.564.1519 (Remerica Integrity, Realtors®, Northville, MI) almost 9 years ago


Fun analogy.  We ordered six boxes of Thin Mints EACH from 5-6 girls.  They are so addictive.  The good news is now I've got teenagers and they disappear almost overnight.  I have also learned they freeze very well and folks LOVE you if you pull them out at July 4th as a snack.  That is of course, if the teenagers haven't found them first:-)

Enjoy those Daisy & Girl Scout years, we are just getting back from our first day of exploring college campuses!  How time flies, and yes, knowing how to market is critical.  Today, our kids are student ambassadors at their schools, "selling" their schools to other prospective students and parents.  

All the best, Michelle 

Posted by Michelle Francis, Realtor, Buckhead Atlanta Homes for Sale & Lease (Tim Francis Realty LLC) almost 9 years ago


What a great tribute to your daughter.  She sounds like she is a very determine 6 year old.  And she accomplished her goals.  Not everyone can say that.

Posted by Evelyn Kennedy, Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA (Alain Pinel Realtors) almost 9 years ago

Hi Nikesh. I love it when young girls are tenacious. They are not jaded yet at that age LOL which helps a lot. It's great when anyone reaches a goal they set their sight on.

Posted by Lana Robbins Realtor ® Licensed Real Estate Broker, Licensed in Florida, Washington, and Hawai'i (Aloha Kai Real Estate) almost 9 years ago

Niki - This was a great post.  I too was a ruthless girl scout cookie seller too  (and I won't tell you what decade that was....)  That enthusiasm flows into her adult life will be such a good thing!  And I love your photo....I plan to steal it.....The Thin Mints are my favorite!

Posted by Christine Bohn, The Bohn Team, Gainesville FL (RE/MAX Professionals) almost 9 years ago

Seriously Cameron, so true!  selling it all personality. Some are just born with it. I am not. I tell you like it is, and tell you what's wrong with the way you are currently doing it and for some reason that works. I am no a natural born seller but I can be honest and straight forward. Like Mad Men Don Draper said, "Jesus either lives in your heart or he doesn't"  It is or it's not. HA!

Posted by Tammy Emineth, Content Marketer, SEO Teacher, Website Fixer (Personal SEO - Website SEO and Real Estate Marketing) almost 9 years ago

have they arrived yet?  I have many boxes ordered... I'm so ready.

Posted by Tammy Lankford,, Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville (Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668) almost 9 years ago

We're all "selling" something, whether it's real estate, our services or something else. Your list includes great suggestions for whatever you have on the market.


Posted by Mel Ahrens, MBA, Kelly Right Real Estate, Customized Choices for your Real Estate Needs (Kelly Right Real Estate) almost 9 years ago

My daughter (now a Brownie) has sold the most cookies in her troop in the last 4 years!!  I think I can learn a thing or two from her about sales too!  Great post!!

Posted by Gina Chirico, Real Estate Agent - Essex County, New Jersey (Lattimer Realty) almost 9 years ago

I sold Girl Scout cookies . . . they pretty much sell themselves.  The secret is . . . they only sell them once per year.  Only once.  That's the gimmick.  It's a good one.  

Posted by Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED (RETIRED / State License is Inactive) almost 9 years ago

I have no local Girl Scout who has asked me for a cookie order yet. 

I was second in troop sales from memory. 

All  you have to do is take the order and then ask how many more for the  freezer to enjoy later or to give as gifts all year long!

Posted by Cheryl Ritchie, Southern Maryland 301-980-7566 (RE/MAX Leading Edge almost 9 years ago

Sounds as though she did way way better than the little children who come up and say "you don't want to buy any cookies do you?" Sounds like she was a real go getter for that giraffe.

Posted by Bob & Carolin Benjamin, East Phoenix Arizona Homes (Benjamin Realty LLC) almost 9 years ago

That is so cute! Now, I must ask, while she was dragging you house to house, did YOU drum up any business? What better time than with an adorable six year old in tow? lol

Posted by Valerie Baker, Spokane Realtor (Exit Real Estate Professionals) almost 9 years ago

Hi Niki--I am delighted that your daughter has learned a valuable lesson about setting and achieving goals.  Good reminders for those of us who aren't selling those delightful products.  If one doesn't set a goal and work it it won't happen.

Posted by Janet Jones, Home Staging, Interior Redesign Kihei, Maui, Hawaii (Just Your Style Interiors, LLC) almost 9 years ago

Wow!  Thanks for all the great comments.  I did not realize this post got featured (as I wrote it a little while ago).

The skill of selling is a great life skill.  I hope she picks it up.

Regardless, if she can set goals and achieve them, I will be a proud papa.  I am already a proud papa.


Posted by Nikesh Parekh, Technology Entrepreneur, Executive, & Investor (Suplari, Inc.) almost 9 years ago

My 8 year old is selling as well. . and I taught her to say. . "would you like to order  2 or 4 boxes today?"  after ending her small presentation that we practiced as well. . I love it! 

Posted by Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group, 301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA (Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001) almost 9 years ago

That's good advice for anyone in sales. I particularly like Be Enthusiastic. Like what you do and let people know it!

Posted by Alan Gross, Loan Consultant (PrimeLending, A PlainsCapital Company, Equal Housing Lender) almost 9 years ago

Great blog Nikesh!  Very well said and a lot of great tips there.                                                                        

Posted by Amanda Christiansen, Christiansen Group Realty (Christiansen Group Realty (260)704-0843) almost 9 years ago

Hi Niki - Congratulations on hitting her goal, is Sarena available to do some consulting? :o)  I love the tenacity of a child, we can all learn from it.

Posted by Ron Cooks, Texas Real Estate, Ft Hood/Killeen Homes for Sale (The Real Estate Marketplace) almost 9 years ago

Hi Niki, congatulations on having a such a smart, clever young person. You still have some years left before she starts using all these fine skills on her parents when she wants what she wants!

Posted by Sandy Acevedo, RE/MAX Masters, Inland Empire Homes for Sale (951-290-8588) almost 9 years ago

Niki, nice that you were able to help her develop a plan and scripts - bet most kids don't get that at home! Of course, the motivating stuffed giraffe is the key, isn't it?

Posted by Maria Morton, Kansas City Real Estate 816-560-3758 (Platinum Realty) almost 9 years ago

Niki -- Looks like you taught her well!  What a great sales plan. Now just where are my do-si-dos?

Posted by Barbara Altieri, REALTOR-Fairfield County CT Homes/Condos For Sale (Kinard Realty Group Fairfield and New Haven County CT Real Estate) almost 9 years ago

This is a great post! I love it! Now I am craving some good ol' girl scout cookies. This is motivation to get goinging on my SOI and bringing in those new clents and start booking appointments etc.


Thanks. :)

Posted by Amber Boyd (Novus Real Estate) almost 9 years ago

I love thin mints and 6 year olds definitely know how to do it.

Posted by 1~Judi Barrett, BS Ed, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDABEL OK (Integrity Real Estate Services 118 SE AVE N, Idabel, OK 74745) almost 9 years ago

Niki - It amazes me what we can learn from watching our kids.  Their enthusiasm is contagious.  And, as you say, it's hard to pass up the Thin Mints.

Posted by Christine Donovan, Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M (Donovan Blatt Realty) almost 9 years ago

You better be careful, she will be recruited to sell ocean front property and you'll be left behind! ☺

Posted by Joni Bailey, Your Huntsville / Lake Livingston Area REALTOR® (101 Main St. Realty) almost 9 years ago

I have a granddaughter, who is a Girl Scout, so you know I love your sign.  But I'm also hooked on Thin Mints, so I find some dark humor in Cameron's #4 label of ingredients:-)

Posted by Myrl Jeffcoat, Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent (GreatWest Realty) almost 9 years ago

Bookmarked!  Thanks for a GREAT post.

Mike in Tucson

Posted by Mike Jones, Mike Jones NMLS 223495 (SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) ) almost 9 years ago